Malfunction junction

Linda Andrews shares:

  • My “banned for life” nominee is “wardrobe malfunction.” If I never hear that phrase again, it’ll be just fine with me!
  • Another language pet peeve that irks me is when a reporter talks about a “senseless” murder. Is there any other kind?
  • A couple of redundancies that also get my goat are “ATM machine,” or “HIV virus.” The “M” in ATM already stands for “machine,” so saying “ATM machine,” is saying “automated teller machine machine.” The “V” in HIV already stands for “virus,” so, when someone says “HIV virus,” what they’re really saying is “human immunodeficiency virus virus.” What they SHOULD say is “ATM” and “HIV,” period.
  • Another interesting language miscue, and it’s something I hadn’t thought
    about myself until I heard someone else bring it up, is when someone says, “I thought to myself...”. Can you think to anyone else but yourself?

10 thoughts on “Malfunction junction

  1. Well, if the Mafia wastes one of its own who is about to sing to the cops, that may be many things but “senseless” it is not. So there may be murders that are not senseless.

    On the other hand, I’m reminded of the George Carlin radio newsparody that includes: “There has been another senseless murder. Herbert Senseless was found murdered this morning.”

  2. Another one like “ATM machine” is, of course, “PIN number”. (My own favorite is one I’ve only seen once: “a.k.a. as”. I also like to drop “for your FYI” into conversation and see if anyone notices.) Someone suggested a name for this sort of thing: PNS Syndrome, where PNS stands for “PIN number syndrome”.

  3. Along these lines, for Canadians, is “SIN number,” meaning literally, “Social Insurance Number number.”

  4. I remember the “CHiPs” television show, and Chips meant California Highway Patrol, but the title was CHiPs Patrol. (California Highway Patrol Patrol.)

    I also like this movie line: “I have a problem with authority figures.”

  5. Those redundant-sounding additions can be irritating but they help disambiguate words and phrases.


    I lost my PIN (needle, stylus, personal info number, or swine cage)

    The namespace for three-letter acronyms (TLAs) is becoming overloaded by a plethora of neologisms so expect more redundancies going forward.

    This crisis will be mitigated by the FLAB (Four Letter ABbreviation), the ETLA or XTLA (Extended TLA), and the LFLA (Longer Four Letter Abbreviation)



  6. I suppose this addition is “better late than never” heh, heh. I hate it when people refer to all abbreviations as “acronyms”. I hate it when so called teckies ask me to “FTP the file transfer” or to use “FTP Protocol”. I hate it when corporate idiots use the term “verbiage” when they should be using the word “text”.

  7. I know I’m late on this, but I think it belongs.
    “What is the VIN number on your car?” = “What is the Vehicle Identification Number Number on your car?”

  8. In an age of cut-and-paste, why do we need useless and confusing initialisms and acronyms? They don’t add to the meaning but can often complicate it, or in the case of PIN numbers, make them redundancies. Do a search for a three-letter combination (e.g. NSA) and you come up with several groups that use the same three-letter initialism. Does NSA mean National Security Administration? Or National Sheriffs Association? Or National Stroke Association? How confusing is that?